Friday, 29 July 2011

Strictly Swim Star! Pamela Stephenson Swims for Cancer Research UK

Last season's Strictly Come Dancing finalist, Pamela Stephenson, has signed onto the celebrity team to swim the Irish Sea for Cancer Research UK. She joins Richard Branson, Ronan Keating, Jenny Frost and Jason Bradbury in taking on the once in a lifetime challenge to swim the Irish Sea in September.

Pamela said: “I’m thrilled to be part of this challenge...and probably a little crazy as well! There are multiple hazards in the freezing Irish Sea, but I simply couldn’t turn down a brilliant adventure in aid of such a great cause.

“I’ve been keeping fit since I finished Strictly last year and I’m already in the pool and training hard to make sure I can keep up with the rest of the team!” You can see and hear Pamela tell you all about it on Youtube too!

In the time that it is likely to take The Swim team to cross the Irish Sea (40 hours), around 1,400 people will have been diagnosed with cancer in the UK. So Cancer Research UK is calling on everyone to get involved in The Swim and help raise £1million for the charity’s lifesaving work.

There are two ways to help: people can sponsor the team at or sign up to their own swimming challenge and ask family and friends to sponsor them.
To help people with their own swimming challenge, increase their fitness levels and raise as much as they can for Cancer Research UK’s work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, each swimmer will be given an exclusive personal swim page. Through this they will be able to log their swims and share progress with family and friends to encourage sponsorship. There is also an iPhone app to help you track your swims when you are out and about.

To sponsor The Swim team and find out more about how you can help them raise £1 million please visit

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Strictly Come Dancing Snippets

Shocking news in, that Ola Jordan was attacked in a bowling alley in South London. Ola was there with James, celebrating a friend's birthday, when a woman leapt across the lanes and punched her in a totally unprovoked attack. Crazy. All the best for a speedy recovery, Ola.

Brian Fortuna is a busy boy - he's starring in Over the Rainbow in Bromley, with Maureen Nolan (no relation!) and also playing the part of Aladdin in Northampton this year.

Claudia has had a little boy, called Arthur. Or possibly, Pumpkin or Rabbit! This is why we will miss her ...

Kara has confessed that she only did Strictly because she was desperate! The world of interior design's loss is the West End's gain, as she's received brilliant reviews for her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion.

And the latest rumours are ... Ricky Hatton and Russell Grant! Yes, we'd all rather Russell Crowe, but what can you do ... Russell G does love to dance though and has been hankering after an invite for some time!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Zoe Ball replaces Claudia on ITT

The BBC have unveiled radio host and former Strictly Come dancing contestant, Zoe Ball, as Claudia Winkleman's replacement for Strictly It Takes Two.

Zoe was third in Series 3, just losing out to athlete Colin Jackson and runaway winner cricketer Darren Gough - seriously, he was way the most popular, it was so obvious - although both Zoe and Colin were technically more gifted, Darren was the original 'journey' - and much lighter on his feet than you'd think. His and Lilia's Paso is still one of my all time favourites, as is Colin and Erin's quickstep ... and Zoe and Ian's Tango (whose showdance was my favourite of the three) but I digress ... Zoe's perfect to take over from Clauds, she's as mad about the show as the rest of us and been there, done that. Much as I like Denise Van Outen and former winner Natasha Kaplinsky, who were in the running, they're not quite as mad as Zoe and ITT needs that element.

Claudia meanwhile, pregnant with her third child I believe, felt that the six nights a week on Strictly would be a bit too much with a new baby and is focusing on Film2011 and a new show for Channel 4, King of - read all about it here. We're going to miss her ...

Monday, 4 July 2011

From Scarborough to Hollywood ...

The early dancing years of Matt Flint! You have to admit, it takes some guts to turn down a role in a West End show, to be at the mercy of the British public in a reality show!

Anyone else riveted by the Secrets of a Pop Song: Ballad on BBC2 on Saturday night? Professional song writer Guy Chambers (Angels and more) teamed up with Rufus Wainwright to write Rufus' love song entry to mainstream pop, World War Three. And from the opening melody I was hooked, the song was beautiful; soaring, anthemic - exactly what you'd expect a top single to be, whether the stripped back acoustic version or the full on 1812 overture crescendo! I wasn't too familiar with Rufus' work, but he has the most amazing pure vocal, it's truly gorgeous.

The other interesting aspect was the different approaches of Guy and fellow hit songmaker, Diane Warren. Guy has very strict rules: Not over 4 minutes and very structured in terms of what you can and can't do. Whereas Diane was very much - do what feels right, make it up as you go along. Which proves the case for all creative writing - there are no wrong or right ways, you just need to find your audience.

Catch the episode on i-Player if you missed it, and tune in next week to see Guy tackle a 'breakthrough' song (think Amy Winehouse and Rehab). Saturday, BBC2 9.45pm, if it's on the same time as before - do check!

Keep your ears open for a new Teena Marie album! Ralph Tee on Jazzfm played a couple of tracks on Sunday's Luxury Soul and they were straight out of Wild and Peaceful/Lady T territory, produced or co-written, I think, with Ronnie Macnair.